yukata quilting workshop: mavericks at play :: Okan Arts
yukata quilting workshop: mavericks at play

yukata quilting workshop: mavericks at play

By Patricia Belyea

LA CONNER WA  Last week, nine “fabjous” ladies gathered in the Northwest quilting capital for a workshop focusing on creativity and curves. All with different levels of quilting expertise, the participants shared an openness for new piecing ideas and an interest in Japanese textiles—plus a willingness to listen to my guidance!
Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting Workshop

La Conner Country Inn hosted us for the week with a gracious and friendly staff.
Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting Workshop at La Conner Country Inn

Hundreds of bolts of Japanese yukata cotton, packed into a small meeting room just down the hall from our huge workshop, sparked excitement in their possibilities.
Shop at Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting WorkshopWith 20 yards included in the workshop registration fee, the vintage hand-dyed fabrics turned up in everyone’s compositions. The lyrical yukata designs inspired curvaceous quilt tops executed with simple pattern making.
Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting Workshop

Beyond curved piecing techniques, participants were encouraged to work outside their comfort zones and challenge themselves to try something new.
Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting Workshop

Lorraine from Mukilteo brought a magnificent old bolt of kimono silk. When unrolled, she discovered multiple panels of stunning long-tailed birds on an ombre-dyed background—to our delight.
Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting WorkshopHope by Patricia BelyeaLate Wednesday afternoon, the group visited La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum—just two blocks up the street from the Inn. To start our tour, curator Kathleen Kox led us to the top floor to examine the accomplished floral and landscape quilts of Denise Miller and Nancy Ryan.

Then we descended to the second floor to view the Contemporary QuiltArt Association (CQA) exhibit and shop in The Museum Store. My small indigo quilt, Hope, made with curved inset piecing, demonstrated a technique we’d just discussed that morning in our workshop.

Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting Workshop Visits La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum

In a gallery on the first floor sat Kitty Pippen (95) with her daughter Sylvia, for an opening reception. Kitty pioneered quilt making with Japanese textiles over 20 years ago and won a first place in Houston in 1994 . For the month of May, the Museum celebrates this remarkable woman with a solo show. What fortuitous timing for us!
Kitty and Sylvia Pippen

Okan Arts 2015 Yukata Quilting WorkshopTeacher’s assistant, Kathleen from Mount Vernon, wowed us with a homemade Farewell Breakfast on Friday morning—as well as with her fast wit, fun antics and wavy quilt design.

Our quilting adventure ended when we checked out just before noon. Now we’re all home, resuming our “normal lives.”

Penny from Friday Harbor summed it all up with the following email message: It was delightful meeting and being around ‘like-minded’ people all working hard to become better at what they love to do. It was a real luxury to spend an entire week working hard and completely drenched in design work and technique. I loved every minute of it and cannot wait until next year. 

And so, we’ll convene again next May—this time tiptoeing into improvisational piecing and surface design.

To learn about the 2016 Yukata Quilting Workshop, +click here

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3 comments to “yukata quilting workshop: mavericks at play”

  1. Rachel F. says:

    It looks like so much fun, laughter and creativity! What a lovely idea for a quilter’s retreat!

  2. Yes, as busy as Mother’s Day weekend was for us here in Friday Harbor, I am still missing you all so much. I am feeling rather sorry for myself tonight. It is peaceful around here and Don is making a lovely dinner, but I know I will not be meeting you all down by the fireside or in our work room later tonight. It seems that an entire year of waiting is a very long time to do this again. You have each promised a visit to Friday Harbor, so I am going to hold you to that promise. See you soon.
    Love, Penny

  3. LeeAnn says:

    Beautiful works! You can see the joy in all the faces. Did you tell them all to dress to match their creations? ; >